Modeled on a Lancashire cheese and onion pie, this guy has a decidedly French accent with the substitution of Cantal for the Lancashire cheese and shallots for the onions. I sliced in some waxy potatoes to make the pie a little heartier and added cheese to the shortcrust for even more flavor, both good decisions.
Last week I was staying with dear friends in the Lot-et-Garonne region of France. Daily trips to the markets were de rigueur as was a bunch of cooking and baking in their gorgeous big kitchen. Boy, did we eat well! The first night we arrived, there was a special meal of confit de canard accompanied by golden crispy potatoes roasted in duck fat. The next evening it was a vivid paella with chorizo, merguez, chicken and prawns. Yet another dinner boasted a festival of sausages (lamb, duck, horse, horse, pig, pig and pig – of different styles and spices) with lentil salad and a Champagne tasting. Of particular note, on the last night, we finished with Caroline’s Nectarine Crumble, a baked delight of sweet nectarines lavished with rum, topped with crispy crumble and served with ridiculously thick Normandy cream.
Lunches were myriad cheeses, fresh bread, fabulous salads, the most amazing summer tomatoes and fruit. And, because I had thumbed my way through The Good Cook* by Simon Hopkinson, two tarts. The first one, this one, was named My Mother’s Lancashire Onion Pie so I should properly call this Not Simon Hopkinson’s Mother’s Lancashire Onion Pie. But I thank him kindly for the inspiration. The second one already started out with a French bent - Roquefort cheese and leeks – to which I added some thinly sliced cauliflower. Perhaps I’ll be sharing that at some later date.
For the pastry crust:
2 1/2 cups or 315g self-rising flour (or the same amount of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons of baking powder added)
3 1/2 oz or 100g strong semi-hard cheese, grated (I used Cantal Entre Deux.)
3⁄4 cup or 140g unsalted butter, cold
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
4-5 whole large shallots
2 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fine sea salt
12 1/3 oz or 350g strong semi-hard cheese, grated (See link above for my cheese of choice.)
First we’ll make the pastry for the crust and leave it to chill. Put flour, grated cheese and salt in a big bowl. Mix well.
Cut the cold butter in chunks and add to the flour/cheese mixture.
Add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing well in between with the tines of a fork, until the dough just comes together. Tip it out on a clean work surface and press it together.
Knead briefly then cut the dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap them both in cling film and refrigerate while you get on with the filling.
Peel and finely chop your shallots. Peel and finely slice your potatoes.
Add the butter and olive oil to skillet and sauté the shallots and potatoes for a few minutes. Add a small splash of water and cover the pan and simmer for about 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked. Season with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and put a flat baking pan big enough to hold your pie plate in to preheat as well.
Cover your clean work surface with cling film and sprinkle lightly with flour.
Remove the larger piece of dough from the refrigerator and press it into a flat disk on your prepared work surface. Flour it lightly and cover it with another sheet of cling film. Use a rolling pin to roll the pastry into circle 1⁄8 inch thick and about 2 inches larger all around than your large pie plate.
Use the cling film base to lift the pastry circle and ease it into your pie plate, leaving the edges hanging off. Prick the pie crust with a fork all over the bottom and sides.
Add the grated filling cheese to the cooled skillet and gently mix it together with the shallots and potatoes, trying not to break the potatoes up.
Pour the filling into the pie crust and spread it around evenly.
Recover your work surface with cling film, sprinkle on some flour and repeat the process of rolling out the top crust.
Cover the filling with the top crust, fold any excess under with the bottom crust, and crimp the edges to hold them together. Cut three or four long slits in the top crust to let the steam out.
Bake in your preheated oven, on top of the flat pan, for about 50-55 minutes or until you see the filling bubbling up a little through the slits and the crust is lovely and golden.
Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting.
FridayPieDay is the brilliant invention of Heather from girlichef and I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.
Today we’ve both gone savory. Follow this link to see her wonderful Zucchini and Tomato Pie.
*Amazon affiliate link - If you buy the book by following my link, I earn a little small change from the sale, at no extra cost to you.